Deputies find cell phone near Calif. crash scene, still no sign of 3 missing children

In this March 28, 2018 aerial file image from Alameda County Sheriff's Office drone video courtesy of Mendocino County shows the pullout where the SUV of Jennifer and Sarah Hart was recovered off the off Pacific Coast Highway 1, near Westport, Calif. The SUV carrying the large, free-spirited family from Washington state accelerated straight off the scenic California cliff and the deadly wreck may have been intentional, authorities said Sunday, April 1, 2018. (Alameda County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

MENDOCINO COUNTY, Calif. – Investigators said they found a cell phone near where a Woodland’ Wash. family’s SUV went off a cliff last week.

California Highway Patrol found Jen and Sarah Hart, along with three of their adopted children - Markis, Abigail and Jeremiah – deceased at the crash scene.

Their three other children, Devonte, Sierra and Hannah Hart, are considered missing. Investigators believe they were inside the family's GMC Yukon when it crashed, and officials said they are considering the search a recovery effort.

On Wednesday, law enforcement expanded their search for the three missing Hart children. While officials have not said whether they found any sign of the kids, they did announce that they found a cell phone near the crash scene.

No official word on whether it belonged to the family.

A Mendocino County Sheriff's Office spokesperson said the weather offered ideal conditions for Wednesday's search, but a storm will hamper any efforts on Thursday.

Officials said they hope the coastal storm system churns up some new leads in the search for the missing Hart children.

"We accomplished 30 miles of search along the beaches and didn’t turn anything up," said Lieutenant Shannon Barney. "Sometimes the storm really digs up things and we might do an additional search but it also depends what we are learning through other parts of our investigation."

The search will resume once the bad weather has lifted, the sheriff's office said.

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